Until I reached my late 20s, I had spent most of my life trying to be something other than a writer. It wasn’t the long hours, piles of rejection letters, carpel tunnel, or the low pay grade that was discouraging, it had just never occurred to me that I could be a writer. The names on the fronts of the books I’d read were like the names across movie posters. To me, writers were stars—untouchable, magnificent people who were swarmed in public. I never dreamed I would meet one, much less become one.
So, I tried to be other things.
As a child, when adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “I want to be a ballerina and a doctor”. When the adults asked me to clarify, I said, “I want to be a doctor, so I can pay for my career as a ballerina.”
It didn’t take long for me to understand that I might not be able to be a doctor and a professional ballerina at the same time, and that being a doctor, in particular, required working with bodily fluids without throwing up.
Those things I thought I wanted to be, and tried to be, all required things I wasn’t good at and didn’t enjoy.
So I tried being a writer, and now I am one.
Ashley K. Warren’s work has appeared in various publications including Almost Five Quarterly. A graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program, she has taught creative writing at Montana State University Billings.